Picking a place to train (posted 1/1/2022)
With the growing popularity of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu more and more people are giving it a try. But how does one decide which academy is right for you? Where ever you train you need to plan on going to class at least 2 times per week. Going to a jiu-jitsu academy is not like belonging to a health club, where you show up, use the equipment and leave. It’s an educational and learning environment. So, first and foremost you need to look into the quality of instruction. You should look into the background of the head instructor. You can do some of that homework online. You should sit in on a class to see how a class is ran. Is it a structured class? Does the instructor communicate in an understanding and logical way? Do they have a beginners curriculum? Does the school focus more on Self Defense (street) or competition jiu-jitsu? Also, ask students in the class about their experiences there. Most academies have a trial period which is a great way for you get a better feel for the quality of the instruction. So definitely take advantage of a trial period.
Another big thing to consider is what the atmosphere is like. Is everyone friendly to one another? How are people treating each other? Are the students helpful to you and to others. Do the other students seem to be happy there? Is it a place where you seem to belong? You will be spending a lot of time there each week so you want to make sure you are comfortable there and you fit in. Many students make great friendships that extend beyond the walls of the school.
Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that requires a lot of physical contact. So there will be sweat and sometimes blood. Skin infections could occur if academies are not cleaning the mats each day, or if they are letting people train with skin conditions. Take note of the facilities cleanliness. Are they mopping the mats regularly? Are others training with exposed skins conditions? Also, students should be wearing clean uniforms each class. These are some things you should definitely observe when you take some trial classes. Most jiu-jitsu schools should have a hygiene policy.
And finally a word about price. Many people ask about the price before they even visit the school and look into the most important things which are covered in this article. As mentioned before a jiu-jitsu school is an educational institution, so expect pay at least $100 per month or more depending on the market you live in. It doesn’t matter what the price is, if the instruction is bad, the people are unfriendly, and the place is dirty.
If you want to get started on the right path in your search for a place to train consider these facets of a jiu jitsu school before you sign on the dotted line.
Helio Gracie Day - Oct 1st (posted 10/1/2021)
Greg Eldred and Grand Master Helio Gracie.
Helio Gracie was born October 1, 1913. He would have been 108 years old today. The Grandmaster made his life a mission to expand Jiu-Jitsu throughout the world. Let’s all remember this day and his legacy and we all thank him for how Gracie Jiu Jitsu changed our lives.
Getting in shape before starting classes (posted 8/1/2021)
Should you get in shape before starting Jiu Jitsu Lessons?
From time to time while meeting with a prospected student I hear they want to “get in shape” before they start training jiu-jitsu. I thought I’d share my thoughts on it.
What does getting in shape actually mean? There’s not really one definition. It can be everything to having muscular strength, to cardiovascular endurance, to having low body fat, or even having good flexibility. But it really depends on what your goals are. Due to the fact you’re visiting a jiu-jitsu school, I believe you desire to learn an effective martial art for self-defense. Maybe you have in your mind you may also want to one day compete in sport competition, or even MMA, and you can eventually work towards those goals too, but for now let’s just consider you’re starting at the beginning.
What I tell those who think they need to get in shape first is to consider this. If you want to improve your life stop making excuses or procrastinating about it, and dive right in. Participation in a jiu-jitsu program does not require strength, nor speed or quickness, nor tremendous flexibility, nor lean body fat, nor considerable cardiovascular endurance. It’s an art that uses principles of leverage, timing, efficiency, and control. But this does not mean that practicing jiu-jitsu won’t help or show improvements in any of those areas. You most definitely will see changes and improvements that will happen over time. In other words, you’ll get in shape for jiu-jitsu by doing jiu-jitsu. As you practice jiu-jitsu a transformation will take place. Your energy levels will increase, you will gain more confidence, your brain is being stimulated because you’re learning new things, you will increase your endurance, strengthen your muscles, will notice increased flexibility, and may even lose weight.
You will then be living the jiu-jitsu lifestyle. You will be attending class at the academy several days a week, but also taking other measures outside of the academy to improve your overall health and state of mind. Ultimately, you will be living your life in better physical condition, with less stress and anxiety, with more confidence, and especially you will have the preparedness to defend yourself if the situation arises. - Professor Greg Eldred
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (posted 4/2/2021)
The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence. Nearly 1 in 5 women have been raped at some time in their lives and about every 2 minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Get involved by educating yourself about the issue. There are many online resources and state and local groups and organizations that can provide help. Also, no matter how well you are educated about the topic, nothing can compare to having the self defense training which gives you the skills to escape from an attacker.
Stop Bullying (posted 11/2/2020)
Bullying is becoming a serious problem in today’s society. Whether it’s mental, verbal, physical, or even cyber bullying, it needs to be stopped. Bullying is more common than we realize. Studies show that between 15 – 25% of all kids up through high school age are bullied, while many bullying incidents go unreported. That’s almost 1 out every 4 kids are bullied. It is estimated that each day 160,000 kids will miss school for fear of being bullied.
Many adults don’t even know that their child is being bullied because many kids are afraid to report it. It’s important to talk to your children and get to know how things are going at school, social events, in the neighborhood, or even sporting activities. Specifically ask your child how are they being treated by other kids. That will help open the dialog, and could expose potential problems your child may be having with others. Even if your child is not encountering bullying problems it’s good to educate them about the topic, and prepare them with the means to deal with it if it happens to them. There are many good resources online for parents and kids to learn about bullying and more importantly to learn about prevention and intervention strategies.
In many cases if our kids simply stand up to the bullying they can stop it. But many don’t stand up for themselves because they don’t know what to do, especially when the bullying gets physical. That’s where, as a last stand, we need to arm our kids with a physical means to defend themselves if they are attacked. Statistics show that almost half of all bullying incidents end up in physical violence. If at all possible we want to avoid physical means of self-defense by using other intervention strategies, but sometimes we have no choice. If a child is empowered with self-defense skills, that will give them the confidence to deal with a bully who is using physical aggression against them. More importantly the confidence they gain will help them in other aspects of their lives and increase their overall self-esteem. Generally when kids have higher confidence and self-esteem, they tend to be a lesser target for would be bullies. Don’t wait until it is too late, start empowering your kids today, before they become victimized by bullying.
State Runner Up (posted 2/23/2020)
Congratulations to Carson Eldred for placing 2nd in the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals on Feb 22nd. Carson finished his senior year with a record of 42-3 with his 3 loses only to Zeke Seltzer who Carson wrestled “under the lights” at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a crowd of over 10,000 spectators for the 120 lb state title on Saturday night. Zeke was undefeated at 43-0, ranked #1 in the state and #13 in the nation. Carson was ranked #4 in the state.
It’s a huge accomplishment even making it to the state tournament, and even more astounding making it to the final. The state of Indiana and only California and New Jersey have one wrestling class which makes it extremely difficult to be a wrestling state finalist. Only 16 wrestlers from each weight class earn a trip to the state finals. After the first round on Friday night only 8 wrestlers move on to the 2nd and 3rd rounds to determine 1st through 8th placement on Saturday.
This was Carson’s 3rd trip to Bankers Life during his High School career. He placed 4th at 113 lbs as a sophomore, a state qualifier at 120 lbs as a junior, and state runner up his senior year. This season Carson also broke Westfield High Schools career fall (pin) record with 92 falls previously was 77 held by his brother Evan. He also came 1 match short of equaling the school career win record of 153 also held by Evan. Carson’s High School career record was 152 – 26.
Carson is not the first Eldred to make the trip to the state tournament. His oldest brother Dillon was a state qualifier his senior year at 138 lbs, and Evan qualified his freshman year at 120 lbs, placed 6th at 132 lbs his junior year, and 3rd at 138 lbs his senior year.
Why take Womens Self Defense Lessons? (posted 1/14/2020)
Let’s be real, the world we live in is not a safe place. There are bad people out there looking for victims to prey on. Therefore, you need to know how to protect yourself in case someone targets you for reasons of harassment, theft, rape, or to cause bodily harm. Not being prepared can result in serious consequences such as unwanted sexual proposals and action, serious injury or even death. You cannot control the desires and behavior of such bad people, but you can certainly take actions to minimize and prevent yourself from being the one chosen for the attack. And if you are attacked the use of self defense techniques and strategies can save your life.
Whether the attack is physical or sexual, the experience can leave both emotional and physical scars that can last a lifetime. You will never be the same. You will always replay the attack over in your mind wondering what you could have done differently to avoid or escape from the situation. You will question yourself as to why you never took a women’s self defense class.
There are three steps you must do to better protect yourself from would be attackers. 1.) You must have a greater awareness. You need to pay better attention to your surroundings, as this is your first line of defense. Attackers are looking for easy victims who are not aware, as they are easy targets, because they have the element of surprise at their advantage. 2.) You must take measures to reduce your risks. This can be from how you look, to how you act, and even how you talk. Also don’t go into isolated areas alone, and if you are going out, go with people and stay around people. Make sure your body language shows a sense of confidence. If you don’t feel comfortable going to certain places, then don’t go there. 3.) Take a self defense class. The best way, in fact, the only way to prepare yourself to fight off an attacker is to take a self defense class. Self defense classes can teach you special techniques for breaking from an attacker’s grasp and other things you can do to get away.
Many women might take action by implementing the first two steps mentioned above, and skip the self defense training. But what do you do when those barriers are broken down, you let your guard down for that one moment, and suddenly you are in a frightening situation? Crime can happen to anyone at anytime, even if you are prepared. Taking a women’s self defense class will empower you to stand up for yourself and take control of your own life.
There should be no excuses when it comes to your personal safety. Women's self defense classes are not expensive. They are not hard to find, and they don’t take a big time commitment. So take the time and find a class. Enroll and attend. Do a friend or family member a favor and take them along with you.
Importance of Curriculums (posted 12/1/2019)
I’d like to share some thoughts on the importance of operating a jiu-jitsu program using standardized curriculums. At one time most all group classes were taught in what seemed to be a random fashion. I singled out group classes because I believe in the private class setting the instructor was able to keep better track of what they were teaching each student. I for one started out with private lessons with Royce and Royler Gracie for at least my first 6 months and recall learning in a logical sequence. But in the group class setting it’s much harder to control the logical progression of learning because you have a mixture of students with different experience levels, so it becomes easier for the instructor to teach classes randomly.
I remember almost 30 years ago the Gracie’s used to say there’s about 600 techniques in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Students would show up to a group class and learn whatever was taught that day, without a clear understanding of a logical path to follow. However, over time students would eventually repeat techniques and began to improve their proficiency.
Today Jiu-Jitsu has grown into the worlds most popular martial art, and I would conservatively say there are several thousand techniques being taught, however many of those were developed specific for sport competition. But still today many BJJ instructors are teaching without curriculums.
At our Academy we have curriculums for every program we offer. That’s one reason we are an Academy instead of just a BJJ gym, as we are an educational institution for learning that has programs and processes in place for doing so. What we provide is an integrated, coherent system of classes with techniques organized in a logical sequence which our students are better able to follow along without being overwhelmed. With a curriculum classes are more structured and disciplined. This teaching approach allows the students to focus on a certain set of techniques over a period of time rather than getting a hodge podge of techniques presented to them randomly. Our curriculums are on a cycle that repeats at a consistent interval. As a result, students get proficient, gain confidence, develop their reflexes, and begin to perform techniques instinctively. This is especially important in the unforeseen event one finds themselves in an altercation or attack where they need to draw upon their training for protection.
Also, by having curriculums we are better able to incorporate our philosophy across all our classes and programs. Our philosophy is to teach jiu-jitsu first and foremost as a martial art and self-defense system. Having a curriculum also allows an academy with multiple instructors to teach the techniques with consistency. At our academy every instructor goes through a rigorous training process centralized around a thorough understanding of our curriculums.
With all our curriculums we are constantly evaluating and scrutinizing every detail of each technique to make sure the most effective aspects of each technique are defined and taught. The end goal is to benefit the students in their journey of learning jiu-jitsu in the most effective way, by providing a superb learning environment while they maintain motivation and are excited to attend classes. - Prof Greg Eldred
Local Fire Department Learning Jiu-Jitsu (posted 3/24/2019)
Indianapolis Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown Belt associate instructor and career firefighter Travis Hawkins recently trained the firefighters of the Noblesville Fire Department in survival tactics utilizing Jiu-Jitsu techniques. His Fire Department has 126 career firefighters operating out of 7 fire stations. Station personnel consist of three shifts, each of those shifts operating on a 24-hour schedule. Each shift consists of a Battalion Chief, 8 Officers, and 30 firefighters.
Travis is a lifelong martial artist and has been a career firefighter for 12 years. He feels that without a doubt Jiu-Jitsu is the best option for keeping himself, his crew members and the people in the community safe in the event of physical confrontation on emergency scenes. Fundamentally the oath a Public Servant commits to when wearing a badge is to help and care in the best way they know how while doing no harm. He finds that Jiu-Jitsu gives the best possible option if ever faced with the need to defends oneself or the life of another.
Photo: Travis with his Gracie Survival Tactics Instructors in October
In October of 2018 Travis spent a week participating in a 40 hour “train the trainer” program earning a Level 1 instructor certification in the Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) curriculum. Gracie Survival Tactics (GST) is a revolutionary defensive tactics system based on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that incorporates time-tested techniques into an easy-to-learn system designed to help public servants humanely prevail against larger and stronger opponents.
Benefits of Sparring (posted 2/26/2019)
At some point on your jiu jitsu journey it will be time for you to start participating in open mat or sparring sessions, often referred to as “rolling” in jiu-jitsu. Some schools don’t advise of it until a student has sufficient background, which may vary from just a couple months to several months of practice. In any case it’s an integral part of the learning process, and it will put you on the path to increasing your proficiency in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Initially your training may start with technique learning and repetition, but eventually your training should consist of these 3 basic parts: Technique learning, drilling, and sparring.
Some people might have the mindset that sparring is just for those who desire jiu-jitsu competition. That is far from the truth. Sparring has many benefits as I will share some with you, whether you’re intending to compete or not. Nothing else prepares you for a real fight, or competition as well as live sparring. It’s a great way to get and stay in shape as it is a high cardiovascular workout. Keeping your body in shape has all the health benefits, but more importantly if you are attacked on the street you’ll have the endurance to properly defend yourself and go the distance to achieve a successful outcome, likewise in competition.
Regular sparring also gives you the chance to practice the techniques you have learned. It gives you the opportunity to try your stuff out against a live, resisting opponent, as opposed to your partner typically being more cooperative when just practicing techniques in class. Sparring also helps improve the timing of applying your techniques, and your reaction time to your opponents movements and behavior. Throughout the sparring match your body will be in a number of different positions, and you will learn how to react and deal with all of those situations that may come up in a real fight, or in competition. You will get in bad positions especially if you spar with higher ranking students, and that’s when sparring also will help develop your patience and teach you to not use your strength, but rather to rely on your technique and skill. Sparring also helps develop your strategic thinking and to anticipate your opponents movements. You will learn to always be one step ahead of your opponent as you will be able to plan out a sequence of moves in advance, or you will be able to defend off some action of theirs in advance.
The more often you spar the better off you will be when or if the time comes for you to use your jiu-jitsu, whether it’s in competition or if you find yourself in a real fight. A student once told me who was attacked out on the street that because of his frequent sparring and drilling in class the actual fight felt as if he were training at the academy. He felt comfortable, had confidence, didn’t panic, and his jiu-jitsu reflexes just kicked in. The last thing you want to happen in a fight is for it to feel unfamiliar or awkward. You have techniques in your mind, but you’re not comfortable or polished in combining them in sequences, or connecting the dots as we say. This can be a bad feeling and a bad outcome.
This article is intended to convince you that you need to incorporate sparring into your training regimen. How to spar and things to consider while sparring to get the most out of your training is a whole other topic. Meanwhile, keep polishing your techniques, and find time to incorporate sparring into your routine.
Good Luck and have fun - Greg Eldred
Year End Promotions (posted 12/19/2018)
We had over 40 students who were eligible for the December belt promotion ceremonies held this week. Their promotions highlight the hard work and dedication that everyone is putting into their practice and training. We had 3 new Blue Belts ( Jacob Clark, Jeff Ramkaransingh, and Will Courtney) who successfully completed a rigorous belt testing process and we are very proud of their accomplishments. We also celebrated these events with a pizza party and Holiday pitch in where we enjoyed sharing everyones favorite eats. We also enjoyed music from our student the one and only DJIllBehavior. Everyone had a great time and we look forward to getting back on the mats and keep doing what we do.
We have 2 new Black Belts (posted 9/16/2018)
We are very proud to have promoted two students to Black Belt this past weekend at the Master Caique Seminar. Congratulations to Lucas Yeazel and Ryan Marques on your accomplishments. Master Caique has the highest standards for those achieving the rank of black belt and Lucas and Ryan have done an awesome job meeting all qualifications. Lucas and Ryan both have been associate instructors at the academy while participating in our instructor training program. They are great instructors and we look forward to their future at the academy.
New Kids Advanced Class at Indy BJJ (posted 8/24/2018)
A new Kids Advanced class is being added to the schedule beginning on Wednesday, Sept 19th. The class will be held on Wednesdays from 5:00 - 5:45 pm. Participation in this class is allowed after the student gains enough proficiency in the Kids basics program and per instructor recommendation. Eligible students would be encouraged to attend the advanced class on Wednesdays, and continue to attend the Monday Kids basics class. The Kids basics class on Monday and Wednesdays will be from 6:00 - 6:45pm.
It's important to continue to practice and perfect the basics on a regular basis. Our kids basics program consists of 21 classes with over 60 techniques. Those techniques establish a solid foundation and are at the core of what Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is all about. Repetition of those critical skills is what will over time make those techniques come together quickly and instinctively if ever needed in a real life situation.
The new Kids advanced program will continue to reinforce the basic principles and introduce new techniques to further increase the students ability to handle adverse situations. This Kids advanced class is a stepping stone for students who are not yet old enough or big enough to attend and safely participate in the Adult Basics program. The decision to move a student into the Adult Basics program is decided on an individual basis.
Carson Eldred places 4th in State (posted 2/25/2018)
Congratulations Carson on an awesome finish to your sophmore season placing 4th in the state at 113lbs. What a tremendous accomplishment. Carson was the 5th wrestler in his school history (Westfield High School) to place 4th or higher in the state tournament. Carson completed his season with a record of 44-5. Carson also is accomplished in the classroom as he holds a 4.0 GPA. Time to enjoy the moment and we're looking forward to more great things from Carson both on and off the mat.
Carson Eldred Qualifies for State (posted 2/12/2018)
A big congratulations to Carson Eldred for qualifying for the IHSAA Wrestling State Finals. Carson enters the state finals with a record of 42-3. Carson, a sophmore has had a stellar season in the 113 lb weight class. This season he was County champion, Conference champion, Sectional and Regional champion, and was runner up at last weeks Semi-State. He follows the footsteps of his older brothers Dillon who was a State Qualifier his senior year, and Evan a 3 time State Qualifier, with a 3rd, and 6th place finish. The state tournament is Friday, Feb 16 and Saturday, Feb 17 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. Friday night 16 wrestlers in each weight class will battle it out in session 1 of the tournament. The 8 winners will move on to Saturday to determine their placement. Carson has worked very hard this season and is excited to compete in the state tournament.
Exercises to help your Jiu Jitsu (posted 11/1/2017)
I often get asked by my students what can they be doing outside of the academy to help improve their conditioning for Jiu-Jitsu? The advice I give depends on the goals of the student, i.e. if they want to compete, or just want to improve upon their everyday training at the academy. For the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on the average student, one who is learning Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art, as a self-defense system, who attends class 2–3 times per week and is not looking to compete for the time being. For the student who is training to compete in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu I would have different recommendations.
The average student may come to class 2–3 times per week. They have a job, or maybe go to school, may be married and have a family, and most have activities and commitments outside of the academy. They certainly don’t have the time or even the desire to train and workout 6 days a week as a Jiu-Jitsu athlete may do. Therefore, as in an earlier article I wrote, I said that the best way to prepare your body for Jiu-Jitsu is by doing Jiu-Jitsu. But for those who ask what else can they do outside of the academy to help improve their body and performance here’s some recommendations.
1. If you already belong to a health club use the treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike a couple times a week for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t have access to any of those, then fast-pace walking or jogging or jumping rope at least twice a week would suffice.
2. Another option I recommend, and I have done this a lot in the past, and even during my competition days is to put together a 30-minute non-equipment cardio workout that you can do at home. There are tons of exercises you can put together to create a fast-paced workout that will get your heart pumping.
3. To improve flexibility, I recommend stretching at least 2-3 times a week. Improved flexibility will help reduce potential injuries, and help speed up recovery time from sore muscles. As you become more flexible, your speed, strength, and coordination increases. You can easily put together a 15-minute stretching routine. Include stretches to improve hip mobility, as our hips play a key role in our Jiu-Jitsu.
4. Improve your core. We use our core for everything. Strengthening your hips, abs, back and lower back is a great way to improve your body for Jiu-Jitsu. There’s tons of exercises for your core that you can include in your non-equipment cardio routine.
5. Incorporate some sort of strength training (not body building) into your regiment as it offers tons of benefits such as toning muscles, strengthening bones, increasing metabolism, and the list goes on and on. You don’t need a gym membership or own expensive equipment either as many exercises can be done at home such as isometric resistance exercises.
These recommendations will not only help improve your experience on the Jiu-Jitsu mat, but will improve the quality of your everyday life. Who doesn't want to look better, feel better, and live a longer, healthier life? Good luck and we’ll see you on the mat. - Prof Greg Eldred